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Reject elements hostile to peace process: Pak
K J M Varma in Islamabad
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January 20, 2007 01:16 IST

Elements hostile to the peace process with India who attempted to create 'misunderstandings' on Pakistan's stand should be 'strongly countered and rejected', President Pervez Musharraf told moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq on Friday.

During his meeting with a three-member Hurriyat team led by Farooq, Musharraf said Pakistan would 'not agree to anything that is unacceptable to the Kashmiri people and their leadership'.

He also 'reaffirmed Pakistan's position that the Kashmiri leadership should be involved with the peace process', an official press release said.

Apparently referring to the hardline Hurriyat faction of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and militant groups that have openly opposed his proposals for demilitarisation, self-governance and joint management to resolve the Kashmir issue, Musharraf said such elements should be firmly dealt with.

Musharraf briefed the Hurriyat delegation on his proposals to resolve the Kashmir issue and his recent talks with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

He also condemned the grenade attack on Farooq's residence in Srinagar and expressed concern over it.

Without directly referring to Geelani, the release said, 'the President further stated that elements hostile to the peace process, which has raised hopes for an acceptable solution, must be discouraged. Their attempts to create misunderstandings about Pakistan's position, especially in the minds of the Kashmiri people, should be strongly countered and rejected'. 

As the Hurriyat team arrived here from Lahore for talks with Musharraf, hundreds of Geelani's supporters staged a rally to protest their visit.

Police used batons to disperse the protestors outside Red Mosque and took several persons into custody.

The rally was organised by Millat-e-Islamia Kashmir, a new group of supporters of hardline Kashmiri organisations.

Geelani is backed by Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami and Pakistan-based militant group Hizbul Mujahideen.

During his meeting with Farooq and fellow Hurriyat leaders Abdul Ghani Bhat and Bilal Lone, Musharraf discussed efforts being made by Pakistan for a 'just settlement' of the Kashmir issue in line with the aspirations of Kashmiris.

"He shared views with the Kashmiri leadership about the composite dialogue and the peace process as well as the recent visit of the Indian Minister for External Affairs', the release said.

Musharraf 'reaffirmed Pakistan's support for the Kashmir cause and appreciated the efforts of the Hurriyat leadership under Mirwaiz for the realisation of Kashmiri aspirations'.

Farooq thanked Musharraf for 'Pakistan's support and appreciated the President's ideas for a Kashmir settlement relating to self-governance, demilitarisation and joint management'.

'He said the President's initiatives had created a historic opportunity for a just solution of the Kashmir dispute which must be seized with courage and determination', the release said.

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